Those who know me well know that I am a dreamer. The Bible says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (emphasis mine). This is a perplexing verse for me. I have big dreams. Sometimes huge dreams.
This is a wonderful and beneficial trait for a Pastor. I, like most of you, never doubt that God can do things. Where I struggle is will He? Or perhaps even more of a challenge is when He will? I frequently identify with Joseph, the son of Jacob. He was a dreamer. I do not know about you, but I would imagine he dreamed of the day the jail would be opened and he could walk out free. He probably daydreamed about that every single moment of every single day for seven years.
See, the danger of being a dreamer is not the dream itself but holding onto the dream until it is fulfilled. As I stated, the greatest challenge for a dreamer is not if it will happen, but when. Dreamers recognize that God is certainly capable of doing whatever He wants – when He wants – in whatever way He wants – without our permission. Some of you may be thinking, “wow, I wish I could dream like that.” Well, there is a cost to being a dreamer.
Dreamers have to be willing to deal with frequent disappointment when things do not pan out as we had hoped or when we had hoped. Again, Joseph knew what God spoke to him, and yet he sat in prison falsely accused of rape. You know there were days that the dream was dead only to be resurrected the next day in a moment of strength. Often, I experience this on a moment-by-moment basis. I will be the first to admit. It can be exhausting.
Let me try to explain a little how this works for me. If you have ever read “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” you will understand. It begins with a dream. Let us say I dream God is going to pay off our church building mortgage. This is not just an arbitrary example; this is an absolute dream for me. For ease of reading, I transition to a bullet point format:
Moment 1 – Yes, God, what an incredible dream you have given me.
Moment 2 – Yes, God, you are able.
Moment 3 – I know you are able but are you willing to do this?
Moment 4 – I think you are willing, but when will you do it?
Moment 5 – Lord, are you ever going to do it?
Moment 6 – Maybe I heard God wrong.
Moment 7 – But, I know you are able and willing.
Moment 8 – Lord, I know that you are going to do it.
Moment 9 – Yes, God, what an incredible dream you have given me.
Now, rinse and repeat! Matt 21:21-22 “Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” (emphasis mine). Ouch, I think I doubt a lot. I would guess this is a normal human reaction.
Joseph must have doubted, as all of us would, sitting in a damp Egyptian jail. However, Joseph received the answer to his dream. He saw it fulfilled. His faith, though challenged, stood. Today, many of you are wavering in your God-given dreams. You may even read the above scripture and think, “I am not receiving because of doubt.” Pull yourself up. Remember who made you a dreamer. Recognize that dreams have cycles. Ultimately you cannot make it happen; only God can. When you realize that, your faith will grow, and you can stand in the promise of your dream.
Next time, think of all the answered dreams in scripture and let that build your faith. Your mind may still be like the preverbal Cookie-Mouse scenario, but you are infinitely able to stand in your dream. How, because God is with you! Yes, there is a danger to being a dreamer, but in the end, the challenges pale in comparison to the reward of a dream fulfilled.